Today in Rape Culture

[Trigger warning.]

So, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz has a blog. It's a blog called "Freshness Factor Five Thousand," but its title is less relevant to this post than its subtitle, which is: "A Socially Conscious Site Swimmingly Serviced by Jason Mraz."

Mraz identifies himself and his blog space as "socially conscious" because he's an environmentalist and a vegan and a supporter of legalized weed.

His social consciousness does not, however, extend to refusing to participate in the rape culture, nor to being remotely concerned about triggering survivors among his readership as he waxes poetic about the French language:
Here in Paris, espresso is my pot, a chocolate croissant my ecstasy. The language itself is like a massage to my virgin ears, every twist of the tongue a temptation. The words are like whores luring me away to crave bad things. Even the common phrase from a man manages to rape my brain. Yet, it is all those things without the trauma or the drama. It's more like an interpretive dance. Yet, it is simply France. And being here feels as though the rest of the world never existed.
The fact that he notes rape is inherently traumatic makes his casual use as a metaphor even worse than some ignorant fuck who's never stopped to consider what he's actually saying. Here, Mraz acknowledges the gravity of rape, but then suggests nonetheless that rape can exist as something pleasant and pleasurable, "without the trauma or the drama."

Mr. Mraz, let me explain to you what rape is, at least for me: Rape is nearly tearing out your fingernails by the roots trying to crawl away from someone who's pulling your pants down, and you can't decide if you should keep trying to get away or stop and pull your pants up. Rape is getting your face smashed against a stone fireplace, and leaving a piece of a tooth behind. Rape is being held down and feeling tears slip out the corners of your eyes and concentrating on that, the sensation of the cool tear trails, because you're being torn apart at your other end and it hurts, oh god how it hurts, but the pain is nothing compared to the indignity, the humiliation, the stupid and inexplicable embarrassment about what's happening to you.

Rape is struggling and resisting and succumbing and blaming yourself for not having escaped this fate, this feeling that your insides are being ripped out. Rape is desperately trying to stay inside your own head as your consciousness tries to flee from the horror of what's happening, is being aware of something severing and disassociating between your mind and your body and being unable (and worse, unwilling) to stop it, is feeling like the intangible thing that makes you a person is being irreparably broken.

Rape is being left in a pool of your own blood, thinking that death would be a relief from the pain and the shame and the utter, wretched brokenness of self you feel.

Rape is having lived longer as a survivor than I had a chance to live not as one. Rape is 20 years of post-traumatic stress disorder and counting. Rape is an indelible mark on my person that I struggle every day to give reason to, because letting it remain a senseless act is unbearable, and because pretending it didn't change me isn't honest.

That's what rape is to me, Mr. Mraz. It's different for different people, as you'd expect. The only thing I imagine all of us have in common among our stories is that none of us would compare being raped to listening to someone speak French.

So do us all a favor and don't make the comparison the other way 'round.

[H/T to Shaker Greta.]


Commenting Note: This thread is not a referendum on Mraz's work or popularity, and comments dismissing him on the basis of his talent—"He's a shitty singer, anyway."—or on the basis that he's not famous enough—"Who?"—are irrelevant, unhelpful, and will be considered off-topic. Comments about being a disappointed fan, or quoting lyrics, interviews, etc. reflecting a similar tone, are on-topic.

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